England were able to brush aside Ireland with relative ease in the second ODI between the sides, claiming a 2-0 series win in the process.
The Three Lions barely had to get out of first gear in their victory at Bristol, cantering to a seven-wicket triumph. However, Ireland posed more of a test in the final game of the series.
Eoin Morgan’s men were inserted in cloudy conditions at Lord’s, which made life tough for openers Alex Hales and Jason Roy to get the innings off to a rapid start.
Both men fell just after getting themselves in, leaving Morgan and Joe Root to build the innings. England’s two captains reached half-centuries before being dismissed in the 70s, but a late assault from Jonny Bairstow guided the team over the 300-run mark.
Paul Stirling got the Ireland replay off to a good start, but once he fell for 48 to Jake Ball, the impetus was gone from the innings. Skipper William Porterfield played well, but strikes from Root left him short of partners, even though he recorded a half-century.
Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett helped wrap up the 85-run victory, sending the Three Lions into their series against South Africa and the ICC Champions Trophy with momentum on their side.
We’ll now look ahead to the tournament on home soil to see whether England can end their trophy drought in the 50-over format using the best betting odds.
England’s batting line-up is in a very healthy position, with their entire unit seemingly at the peak of their powers. Openers Roy and Hales have the ability to get the Three Lions off to blistering starts against any bowling attack they will come up against in the competition, especially on home soil where they will have great knowledge of conditions.
Hales has slowly built himself into one of the most destructive players in the game and is in prime form, with his striking seemingly untouchable at the moment. Roy had a few issues with timing during the series against Ireland, although his lack of cricket may explain his problems. He has plenty of time ahead of the tournament to get matches under his belt to get back to his best.
Root will be aiming to make a statement in the ICC Champions Trophy in order to edge ahead of his rivals to be known as the dominant batsman in world cricket.
Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson are up there with the 26-year-old, but Root appeared at ease in the Ireland series notching high scores with relative ease. It would be no surprise to see him leading England’s charge for the title.
Morgan has remained consistent in his position at number four, with the ability to blast or nudge his way to large scores.
Bairstow and Sam Billings highlight the depth in the line-up, with the Yorkshireman giving the selectors a reminder of his all-round talent.
His late blows against Ireland propelled his team over the 300-run mark and his aptitude to clear the rope late in the innings could put him in contention.
However, with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler to return to the fold – England are in a very good place with their batting options.
Without James Anderson and Stuart Broad – England are low on experience, although both players have not featured for the ODI side over the past couple of years.
Mark Wood is the Three Lions’ match-winner in waiting due to his express pace. The Durham quick has had his issues with injuries that ruled him out of the tours of India and the West Indies, but he flashed his quality against Ireland. There are not many bowlers that can deliver consistently at 90mph – therefore Morgan has an ace up his sleeve in the 26-year-old.
The return of Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes will add the experience and guile England need, with both players missing the series against Ireland to play in the IPL.
Woakes has taken over the mantle as leader of the attack and his impressive performances for Kolkata Knight Riders will stand him in good stead for the rigours of an international competition.
Stokes will be determined to erase memories of the exploits of his last major competition in the World T20, having been blasted around the park by Carlos Brathwaite to allow the West Indies to snatch the crown away from England. He has lived up to expectations in his first term in the IPL and should carry his form into the summer and beyond.
Adil Rashid is the wildcard for Morgan’s men. Should the leg-spinner perform to the peak of his powers – it may be the driving factor that pushes the Three Lions ahead of their rivals for the crown.
On a favourable pitch in Bristol – the 29-year-old highlighted his quality by notching his first five-wicket haul. At the same time he can also be hit around the park, which is why his displays could make-or-break England’s hopes of glory.
Yes! The Three Lions have a lot of talent in their squad and match-winners in key positions.
As a result, Morgan’s men are the leading contenders to win the crown, with BetFair backing them at +333 to triumph.
Australia, South Africa and India will provide a stern test to overcome in the latter stages of the competition, but with the tournament on home soil – the Three Lions will have the advantage of conditions on their side.
Their performance at the 2015 World Cup and the World T20 last year should act as inspiration.
England’s dismal performance in the 50-over competition sparked a revolution in their approach to limited-overs cricket and resulted in them surging within one over of securing their second World T20 crown in India last year.
Morgan’s men have too much talent in their squad to allow the opportunity to slip through their fingers. The majority of the squad are in solid form, which should be enough to see off their rivals in the tournament and ensure that the Three Lions are triumphant come the end of June.
England To Win ICC Champions Trophy
26th May – 18th June 2017
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